Gangtok, Jan 19: (IPR)
The valedictory function of Sikkim Organic Day cum Krishi Unnati Mela was held at Manan Bhawan Gangtok. The programme was graced by Governor Ganga Prasad as the chief guest.
The program had the presence of Agriculture Minister Shri Somnath Poudyal, Secretary Agriculture Khorlo Bhutia, Chief Executive Officer, Sikkim Organic Mission Dr. S. Anbalagan, Joint Director, NOFRI (ICAR)Dr R.K. Avasthe and ICAR Scientists and other dignitaries, officials and farmers from across the State.
The two-day program was organized jointly by Food Security & Agriculture Development Department, Horticulture & Cash crops Development Department and ICAR with support from National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) , ICAR- RCNEH Research Complex North – Eastern Hill Region and ICAR – ATARI -IV Agriculture Technology Application Research Institute IV.
Governor Ganga Prasad in his speech welcomed the dignitaries and highlighted the focal points in the programme, that Sikkim has made a historic declaration in the State Legislative Assembly passing a resolution to convert the entire agricultural land of Sikkim into Organic in 2003.He expressed satisfaction over increasing participation of farmers in organic agriculture. He opined that assertive interventions by the government are required to ensure that more and more farmers get access to the land holdings. He said that there is a need for adopting participatory approach for management of irrigation, conservation of natural resources like soil, water and vegetation for sustained development and continuing economic progress and improved way of life of the people. He also laid the importance of Vermi composting, EM composting, biodynamic composting etc and massive awareness training at all the village level through Krishi Mela. He stressed on the importance of skill-oriented education and emphasized on the role of educational institutions to inspire students towards agriculture-based professions. The Governor also appreciated the role of ICAR-NOFRI in technological empowerment of farmers in agriculture which has enabled the policy makers to take high level policy initiatives in this sector. He stated that Sikkim being a small State has been declared as an organic State further emphasizing the need to empower farmer with new knowledge and skill and the system must also seek the inputs of farmers as they have historically been the source of much traditional knowledge and innovations at the grassroot level.
Secretary Agriculture Khorlo Bhutia in his address said that Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling declared January 18th as an ” Organic Day ” in Sikkim to be observed annually after Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi lauded the State’s development progress in agriculture sector. He also said that Sikkim has been bestowed with pride of becoming the first State of India to declare and adopt 100% Organic Farming for healthy living and sustainable agriculture maintaining the ecology and environment for healthy and wealthy future of the Sikkimese people.
Chief Executive Officer, Sikkim Organic Mission, Dr S. Anbalagan made a presentation on overview of Sikkim Organic Mission where its vision and mission were highlighted. He said that 2003 was given as foundation year and after that two to three years were given for preparatory phase and in 2010 witnessed the implementation phase followed by certification programme. Presently government is initiating in phase two which involves processing and marketing. In the presentation the Government measures on Sikkim Organic Policy, some important policy decisions and various strategies were highlighted.
Joint Director, ICAR-NOFRI Dr. R.K.Avasthe briefed about the Organic Farming Technologies for doubling Farmers Income by 2022. In his presentation he focused on Agronomic technology developed at ICAR, Zero till vegetable pea in rice fallow, Micro WHS, Jalkund in different villages of Sikkim and various other technique like low cost water harvesting, year-round organic vegetable production under low cost plastic tunnels for doubling farmers income. He also said that collective action of farmer is required so that they come together on a single platform to march further.
The programme also witnessed the distribution of certificates of appreciation to Field Functionaries of the Department.
The two-day program concluded with vote of thanks proposed by Secretary HCCDD DK Bhandari.